Stir Fried Chinese Vegetables

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I had two more vegetable side dishes planned for my Year of the Dragon Chinese Banquet – Stir Fried Chinese Greens and Broccoli Hoisin.

As time was my enemy – people were hungry! And because I was a little too ambitious when creating the menu, I didn’t make the broccoli hoisin – instead, the broccoli went into my Beef in Oyster Sauce dish, as it was something I had made many years ago that included broccoli. I did, however, make the stir fried Chinese greens using bok choy (or pak choi) on the night, and the next day made another stir-fried vegetable dish using bok choy, bean sprouts and cashew nuts. I’ll be describing how I made the latter dish, but will also provide recipes for the other two which are from Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookery book.

The wonderful thing about Chinese cookery is that they all use combinations of the same flavourings – soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, Chinese five spice powder and sesame oil, so you can easily stir fry vegetables and get a tasty dish using different combos. And that’s exactly what I did for this stir-fried vegetable dish.

I finely chopped some garlic…

…and halved, quartered and then eighthed (it’s a word!) a bok choy. Which, depending on where you buy it from, is also called pak choi.

I had some left over bean sprouts too, as well as some snowpeas.

With my wok and oil all hot and smoking, the garlic went in for literally a second and then the bok choy, stir-frying all the time so that the garlic wouldn’t burn. I then added the snowpeas stir-fried for few minutes and then added the bean sprouts, stir-frying for another minute or so before adding some chicken (or you could use vegetable) stock, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. When I was satisfied that everything was cooked enough – I like vegetables with a little bite to them – I added a dash of sesame oil and stirred through some cashew nuts.

Everything was tipped onto a plate and served – yummy!

Stir-fried Chinese Vegetables

Serves 4

  • 2 bok choy
  • large handful of bean sprouts
  • handful of snowpeas/sugarsnap peas or mangetout
  • small handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • 3 tbsps hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsps light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt


  1. Cut the bok choy into eighths.
  2. Top and tail the peas if needed.
  3. Heat a wok until very hot then add the groundnut or vegetable oil.
  4. When slightly smoking, add the garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds.
  5. Add the bok choy and stir fry for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the peas and stir fry for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Add the bean sprouts and stir fry for 1 minute.
  8. Add the stock, hoisin sauce and soy sauce and stir fry for another minute.
  9. Add the cashew nuts and stir through.
  10. Take off the heat and stir the sesame oil through the vegetables. Season with salt if desired.


Stir-fried Chinese Greens

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 675g Chinese greens, such as Chinese flowering cabbage or bok choy
  • 2 tbps chicken stock or water


  1. Heat a wok until very hot and add the oil.
  2. When it is slightly smoking, add the garlic and 2 teaspoons of salt and stir-fry for 15 seconds, or until the garlic is lightly brown.
  3. Quickly add the Chinese greens and stir-fry for 3 – 4 minutes, until the greens have wilted a little.
  4. Add the chicken stock or water and continue to stir-fry for a few more minutes, until the greens are done but are still slightly crisp.
  5. Serve immediately.


Stir-fried Broccoli with Hoisin Sauce

Serves 4

  • 450g fresh broccoli
  • 1½ tbsps groundnut (peanut) oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsps hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsps Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 tbsps water


  1. Separate the broccoli heads into florets, and peel and slice the stems.
  2. Blanch all the broccoli pieces in a large pan of boiling, salted water for several minutes. Drain and plunge into cold water. Drain again.
  3. Heat a wok over a high heat until it is hot and add the oil.
  4. When slightly smoking, add the garlic, broccoli, salt and pepper and stir-fry for about a minute.
  5. Add the hoisin sauce, rice wine and water.
  6. Continue to stir-fry on a moderately high het for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is thoroughly cooked.
  7. Serve at once

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